Sarah is two. She thinks two is very, very good. Everything is new – funny, exciting, wondrous, or, on occasion, frustrating. She takes it all in stride, which isn’t too difficult, partly because it’s extremely difficult not to give in to a frustrated two- year-old.
What it must be like to see the world as entirely new! Right now for her it’s mostly pastel flowers, fluffy toys and finger food. As soon as the frost begins to coat the pumpkin, so to speak, Sarah will realize that some actions have results and some events are not exclusively for her enjoyment. She will begin to see the why of things.
But at two she rarely has to worry about consequences. For the most part, there are none. Consequences appear later in life, and each negative outcome will leave its mark, a slightly darker spot in the perfect pastel of her life.
Two-year-olds have it made. Walking and running are relatively new, words are new; understanding comes in tiny, exciting segments.
Last Halloween, my husband, Grandpa Jack, and I were at Sarah’s house. After trick-or-treating, Sarah and her four- year-old brother, Ethan, began to play with some new toys, slimy-looking flexible plastic lizards that parents (or grandparents) threw up to the ceiling where they stuck long enough to writhe and wriggle, finally dropping unwilling to the floor. This was high excitement, as it turned out, because none of us could manage to catch the wily beasts. It was impossible to predict when their little gel-claws would let go.
This activity lasted for an ear-splitting amount of time. Sarah was determined to catch a lizard. But she soon realized that she was out-matched by all the taller types who shared her goal. She disappeared for a bit, returning with a small plastic step stool about a foot high. She knew that she had solved her problem. She jumped onto the stool and realized that it wasn’t up to the task. She didn’t view this as tragedy (she saves tragedy for arguments over toys and such), and she tried relocating the stool several times. Since no one ever caught a lizard, except when Daddy cheated and held her or Ethan up within reach, she was entirely satisfied with her project.
We adults, objective as are all parents and grandparents, viewed Sarah’s problem-solving effort as remarkable. If it was not entirely the stuff of genius, she outshone all that with her charm and unmatched two-year old optimism.